The following is a teaching of the Sufi master, Hazrat Inayat Khan, contributed by artist and Sufi retreat guide, Mary Risala Laird.
“There are moral principles taught to mankind by various teachers, by many traditions, one differing from the other, which are like separate drops coming out of the fountain. But when we look at the stream, we find there is but one stream, although it turns into several drops on falling. There are many moral principles, just as many drops fall from one fountain; but there is one stream that is at the source of all, and that is love. It is love that gives birth to hope, patience, endurance, forgiveness, tolerance, and to all moral principles. All deeds of kindness and beneficence take root in the soil of the loving heart. Generosity, charity, adaptability, an accommodating nature, ever renunciation, are the offspring of love alone. The great, rare and chosen beings, who for ages have been looked up to as ideal in the world, are the possessors of hearts kindled with love. All evil and sin come from the lack of love.
People call love blind, but love in reality is the light of the sight. The eye can only see the surface; love can see much deeper. All ignorance is the lack of love. As fire when not kindled gives only smoke, but when kindled, the illumination flame springs forth, so it is with love. It is blind when undeveloped, but, when its fire is kindled, the flame that lights the path of the traveler from mortality to everlasting life springs forth. The secrets of earth and heaven ate revealed to the possessor of the loving heart, the lover has gained mastery over himself and others, and he not only communes with God but also unites with Him.”
Although the different religions, in teaching man how to act harmoniously and peacefully with his fellow-men, have given out different laws, they all meet in this one truth: do unto others as thou wouldst they should do unto thee. The Sufi, in taking a favor from another, enhances its value, and in accepting what another does to him he makes allowance.”
Hazrat Inayat Khan was the founder of the Sufi Order of the West in 1914, and was a teacher of Universal Sufism, a program of mystical teachings which is held open to all faiths and creeds. A renown musician, author of books about music, and poet, he abandoned his career as he followed his spiritual path.
Mary Risala Laird is an artist and spiritual retreat guide in the Sufi Inayati Order. Her favorite art media include letterpress, painting, collage, and printmaking, and she publishes letterpress books under the name of Quelquefois Press. Poetry, jazz, painting, drawing, the mystics of all traditions and participating in long silent retreats all over the country lend meaning to her life and inspiration to her work.